“Now let’s not be too chippy about HSBC” BBC

Today, it was gleefully announced that HSBC’s profits had jumped to $17.2bn :

And on the BBC Radio 4 Today problem financial expert Frances Coppola was interviewed about the results. I was a little surprised that the interview consisted of the presenter Dominic O’Connell saying he thought HSBC could have done better and Frances agreeing.  The subject was quickly moved on with a cheery “Now let’s not be too chippy about HSBC.” and they went on to discuss banks whose results had not been announced. I was stunned.

HSBC is the most criminal bank in the world. Almost every day there is a new report of a massive fine or prosecution somewhere in the world. Its crimes are very rarely reported on the BBC or elsewhere in the British media. HSBC is a British bank. Last month two new documentary films were released, Gangsters of Finance made in France and Netflix’s Dirty Money, Cartel Bank made in the US. Both films reveal new details about HSBC criminal activities that have never been reported in the UK. Until last year the Chair of the BBC Trust (the top job at the BBC) was Rona Fairhead an HSBC director, now Baroness Fairhead and International Trade Minister. She was head of risk and audit in the US at the time HSBC were laundering money for the Sinaloa drug cartel and terrorists.

To hear this shameful puff piece on the BBC was very disturbing. Listen to the interview here:

In response I sent this tweet, which I don’t think is an entirely innacurate record of the what happened, although I accept that O’Connell did bring up the subject, so Coppola didn’t exactly go off message:

Frances Coppola was very upset about this tweet and informed me that she didn’t go off message but she had agreed with O’Connell what they would discuss beforehand and that the tone would be downbeat. I find that admission even more surprising. I have done many radio and TV interviews, whilst it is obvious that you discuss what you will talk about, you do not agree what you will say or the “tone” of it. She said it had been “rehearsed” but I will accept that that was probably a poor choice of wording.

I have not criticised the length of time given to the subject or even suggested that other things about HSBC should have been discussed, I have just expressed surprise at what was said and its manner, given how much of that huge profit stash was acquired by fraudulent, illegal and in some cases murderous means.

A long, increasingly exasperated series of exchanges took place on Twitter which I won’t rehearse here, but which ended with Frances Coppola threatening to sue me for having accused her of corruption. I did not. And I am happy to record here that I do not think Frances Coppola is corrupt. I do, however, find that many people who appear regularly on the BBC are very quick to defend the BBC. I don’t think that’s corrupt. It is looking after number one, which makes my job of exposing corruption more difficult, but is not in itself corrupt.

Frances Coppola used to work for HSBC. I have asked her on Twitter if she owns any shares. She refuses to answer, but simply says “I have no interest in HSBC”. She wrote this in 2011: